Although summer hasn’t even officially started yet, the gap intelligence team is already looking ahead to the holiday season. gap intelligence market analysts Jason Barry (tablets & wearables), Dustin Downs (desktop & notebook computers), and Scott Peterson (smartphones & voice assistant speakers) took the stage at CE Week led by CT Lab Editorial Director, Rob Stott to talk about their respective CE categories. They touched on trends they’ve been following, and gave us a preview of what to expect around the love-it-or-hate-it shopping holiday known as Black Friday.
Peterson called attention to a major hole in the smartphone category which he calls the “junior flagship” tier. Many of the top smartphone brands, including Apple and Samsung, focus primarily on premium items that stand at $1,000+, and pay very little attention to the mid range price level. Specifically, Samsung only dedicates about 5 percent of its focus to this under-served market whereas Apple spends even less time than that. Peterson said that some of the “smaller guys” are doing a great job at capitalizing on this market including Google with its Pixel smartphone.
Downs mentioned that desktop and notebook makers have been strengthening their premium product portfolios as well with price tags also hovering around $1,000+. Lately, these devices have become all-encompassing for use at work, for gaming, watching Netflix etc. Because of this “increase in product lifestyle” the cost has become somewhat justified to the consumer.
In Barry’s discussion surrounding tablets, he revealed that these products have seen a generational increase with a premium listing for the iPad standing at $329. Other manufacturers, he noted, are attacking the price gap that is also prominent in the smartphone category. He pointed out that when these tablets are stacked up next to each other on the shelves, consumers are faced with two questions: “is the loss of features worth the savings” and “are the additional features justifying the premium?”
These findings, the team noted, will play a major role in how retailers position products come holiday time. Peterson said in the smartphone category, we can expect a shift away from free gifts to returning money into our wallets through high value trade-ins and gift cards. For tablets and wearables, Barry sees a major opportunity for BOGO (buy one get one) deals and adding accessories onto the product, like keyboards for example. In terms of notebooks this season, Downs expects the budget notebooks to be front and center with discounts of up to 50 percent. While other categories use gift cards and freebies to entice customers, Downs sees this category pushing out the biggest “door busters” with aggressive savings.
Although not everyone could agree on whether or not Die Hard was a Christmas movie (2/3 say yes), they all agreed that an omni-channel approach during the holiday season, and throughout the year in general is best for both retailer and consumer. They concluded with some advice to pay attention to launch cycles, hold out for the release of a successor, and to have patience when hunting for a good deal.